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Soundie - Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens

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Soundie - Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens

Published ca. early 1940s
Topics soundie

An amazing short by an "orchestra" of vibraphone players.

Some viewers have noted that this film seems to be a mirror image of how things are supposed to be. This is because original Soundie films were printed backwards so that they could appear correct when played in the Panoram machine (an early film jukebox).

Audio/Visual sound, b&w


Reviewer: spuder - - June 28, 2013
Subject: 720p version
There is now a much higher quality 720p version of this video elsewhere on this site at:

Reg Kehoe is the last of the 4 soundies in that clip.

It is more complete and reversed right-to-left from this version. The quality is high enough you can read the instrument labels to prove it is the correct aspect.
Reviewer: jamsie11 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 12, 2012
Subject: Never fails to please
I laugh so hard every time I watch this. Never fails to please even after watching it time and time again.

I wish I could have seen this wonderful group in person.
Reviewer: Riverdancer18 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 25, 2011
Subject: Reg Kehoe and His Marimba Queens
A Reg Kehoe Marimba Band music cd is available now with 17 musical arrangements and 2 radio interviews.

Send an email to if you are interested in owning a cd.

Reviewer: twinklez1985 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 5, 2011
Subject: Amazing
The man playing the bass really knows how to rock!
Reviewer: michaeljayklein - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 5, 2011
Subject: PS
I'm glad to have found out some information about him through the comments here--just fascinating! Thank you!
Reviewer: Freddie Jaye - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 29, 2011
Subject: How can you not love this?
One of the best clips I've found on the archive!

I'd like to have this tune as a ringtone--any idea how Ican extract the audio?
Reviewer: Billy L. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 7, 2011
Subject: Laughed till I cried. Then I watched it again and again.
They aren't creepy, as some have said, they are brilliantly inspired. God bless Frank the bass player...I guarantee he's rockin' it in the afterlife with Zappa, Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Go Frank, Go!

This clip is just another reason why I really like this site.
Reviewer: JonathanDP - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 19, 2010
Subject: Pretty darn neat.
While some of the players don't look that in to it (who knows how early they had to get up to film this), it's a quite enjoyable tune. I'd love to see this on it's native home the Panoram.
Reviewer: jeffspirit. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 8, 2010
Subject: Great piece of history
I know the causes of the effects/affects of this in awareness. I can only give you my personal interpretation of it. This "bite" of "time" is the riffs, overtones, melody, vibrations, along with the visual of that. In that, this is an all composite of what you perceive to know.

As you hear you see. I watch this and see what I hear. You view the beautiful ladies gently swaying to the sound, while during the piece the bassist comes out and goes nuts! All for joy.

Marimbas and the bass thrombing along from that sound, are one of the most touching tones the human psyche can know. Along with being a man who views these all smiling girls with joy, enticed by it all.

It is a mixed knowing of sound and vision. As with the bassist and the speed of the the music, versus the gentle sways synchronized slower than the changes of speeds of overtones, to the changes in chording of the number of changes to the sounds of the music.

It is one of the most uplifting pieces I know here in and on the Internet. Like one person posted, if you feel down sort of spirits, listen and watch this and you'll feel upbeat. Not beaten up. This original "soundie" cuts to the core all through a persons being, from you inside the space connected all the way to the soul of oneself.

It's what I know in awareness, even negative spirits will "feel" the presence and jive right along with myself dancing to this tune of sound most joyful.

All the consciousness and unconsciousness join and rift right along to these vibrations. Truly a most unique thing.

Those that made this so long ago never knew this would be so "popular" and notable today. I bet they are so "happy" in their forms whom have passed on seeing us so joyful knowing this "soundie" today.

I give this five stars as that's my "feeling" towards this most pleasant sound/visual representation that "happened" to fit all of this together at once. Most unique and joyful all though in a persons' knowing in awareness, and this doesn't "happen" that often.

Sort of rare but not impossible.

Thank you to those whom did this and the connections to this throughout time. I hope this lasts as long as it can.
Reviewer: Mustang66r - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 5, 2009
Subject: Frank Dinunzio
That is some wild bass playing! He is getting on down!!
Anyone know if Frank owned Dinunzios Lounge in Hershey, Pa?
Also, did he ever play with Sonny James and the Southern Gentlemen when they were in town, back in the 60's?
Reviewer: Pitt Cairn - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 28, 2009
Subject: Marimba Queens

It's wonderful they gave the bass player that kind of freedom. And all of the reviews below are great as well. Congrats to those of you who were able to find this piece of your personal history.

Even with the war, it was an interesting and creative time to be alive.

Pitt Cairn
Reviewer: oldstudmo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 15, 2009
Subject: Marimba Queens
I love this charming warm clip from a more decent and hopeful time. I am strangly drawn to it,and the unabashed fun and openess. I play it when I'm down and need a lift. Thank you all
Reviewer: apkat - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 8, 2008
Subject: An absolute delight
Joyous music and swinging showmanship make this Soundie an absolute delight.

This is like a handbell choir with rhythm and spunk!
Reviewer: Lorenzo B - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 1, 2008
Subject: Cheer
If Reg and crew don't cheer you up, you are a candidate for euthanasia.
Reviewer: pedant - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 26, 2007
Subject: Tune identified

>I notice the chord changes but I can't >recognize the tune.

It's 'Study in Brown' by Bunny Berrigan - only obv a bit more jaunty with the melorimba girls.

Every time I watch this I'm increasingly convinced that, when we die, this is where we go. Grab yourself a set of mallets because you're going to be busy.
Reviewer: PitPercussion - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 5, 2007
Subject: The college days!!
So here I sit, a professional drummer/percussionist who always wondered if anyone else ever played marimba "rags" like I did in college. Sure enough, a friend links me to this site and I am HOOKED! I got quite a kick out of watching these ladies. Not only are they all terrific musicians, the song itself has tremendous appeal and really hooks you with it's bounciness and frivolity. Makes me miss my days of George Hamilton Green and hanging in the Percussion Room. I could kick myself to think that they played so close to NJ and I never got a chance to see them, but they were a little before my time! If anyone has any info on any professionally done recordings of them, please feel free to respond to my post, I'd love to hear more. ;)
Reviewer: ERD. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 26, 2006
Subject: Lots of fun
An enjoyable musical number. Good showmanship, with the bass player antics contrasting the sedate ladies.
Reviewer: 78rpmnut - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 22, 2006
Subject: How much fun CAN you have...
How much fun can you have with several marimbaphones?

Nice. I notice the chord changes but I can't recognize the tune.

And How 'Bout that guy slappin the bass???

Gee, it's swell!!
Reviewer: awgertoo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 21, 2006
Subject: Name that tune
There's something about this clip that is almost surreal--The grainy black and white images, the sameness of most of the performers (all quite thin and "brunette" as they said back then, with the exception of the marimba player at Reg's right hand) and most of all the music.

I too can watch this over and over and get teary when I do--I wonder what is the name of the tune. Does anyone know?
Reviewer: March Drummer - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 19, 2006
Subject: Obituary of Reg Kehoe's wife
Sad news on Mrs. Kehoe, a classy lady.

Fern Marie (Henry) Kehoe, 2351 Columbia Ave., Lancaster, passed away July 15, 2006 at Brethren Village, Lancaster in her 98th year. Born in Gordonville, she was the daughter of the late Sarah Salome (Sentman) and William Lightner Henry Jr.

She was a 1926 graduate of Lancaster High School. The wife of the late J. Reginald Kehoe, she helped entertain audiences in the U.S. and Canada while touring with the Reg Kehoe All-Girl Marimba Band in the 30's, 40's and 50's. Besides playing and dancing with the band, she also designed and made many of the costumes.

In her retirement years, she taught tap, acrobatics, ballroom and jazz dance to many local students.

The lives of many extended family members were positively impacted because she so generously shared her time and talents with them to build enduring and happy memories. She loved to dance, take daily walks through her neighborhood, do aerobics and take care of her dog.

She was a member of First Reformed Church, Lancaster.

Her daughter, Karen Lynn, passed away on May 18 at Crozer-Chester Medical Center from complications due to thermal burns sustained in a house fire on April 24.
Reviewer: katlac - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 23, 2006
Subject: they were sum kool kat's
Wowwwwwwwww,that kool kat playing the bass was none other than the one and only Frank DeNunzio Sr. of Hersey,Pa.He played his stand bass up til he was in his early 90's.Sadly he passed away in febuary 2005,i had the honor of meeting this man
in 1997,i married one of his grand daughter's,although i only knew him a few short year's,i could tell he was quite a caracter,i heard just a few storie's from "back in the day"
and i wished i could of been there,everybody seem to have a good time...miss you pop pop
Reviewer: skunkgoddess - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 14, 2006
Subject: da da dada da ta da da
This is so cool. I just loved it. The bass fiddle player especially caught my attentiion. This is a one of a kind winner.
Reviewer: bobair - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 29, 2006
Subject: What a cool video!
All of the previous reviews hit well on the mark with regards to this most interesting "soundie". For me as well, the hi-light is that "hepped-up" bass player,he could of easily played in a rock'n'roll band if he were so inclined.Choice piece of Americana and well worth the download,wish there were more like it. Bob.
Reviewer: K.Y. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 1, 2006
Subject: A rare gem
This soundie is an amazing glimpse into American pop culture of the World War II era. Memo to the bass player: Next time, switch to decaf!
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 21, 2006
Subject: Where was I?
Several people have commented that this has shown up on 'Matinee at the Bijou'... I'm sorry? Where was I during that episode? I thought I caught every episode of that series!! (I want to see the classic Porky Pig Cartoon 'I havent got a hat' as well as the classic 'Cajun Moon' again!). Anyways, about this soundie... FANTASTIC!! Some pretty xylophone players, a mean macaras shaker, and an even MEANER bass player. Honestly, Georgia Sothern, the accordian player from the 'Beyond the blue Horizon' and this bass player should have put an act together. Great great stuff!
Reviewer: autoguy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 7, 2005
Subject: A Must See
A bit of music history worth a million bucks.
Reviewer: hugebigpig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 18, 2005
Subject: Head banging bass genius
Download this film!
Absolute genius. I've been sitting here crying laughing. Marvellous stuff
Reviewer: stinky wizzleteats - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 19, 2005
Subject: Does it get any better than this?
This is one of those films here I could watch all day long, it's got everything you could want; wierd music, creepy girl xylophone players, a great set and a kick ass bass player. And he's the one who sends this short over the top. For the first minute he does some great boppin' in the back, but then he comes down and starts headbanging and beating the hell out of that bass. Great, great stuff.
And is it just me or are those girls really really creepy, they look like they're wearing wigs and being forced to smile. Download this now, you won't be sorry.
Reviewer: Ja30fitz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 24, 2005
Subject: A Great Little Musical Film
This is one of the better films I have downloaded. The xylophone player in the front looks EXACTLY like LBJ (36th President Lyndon Johnson), and some of his "queens" look quite tired, to say the VERY least. I also happen to love the set, is it supposed to be some Greek arch? Anyways, this is truly a great film, and the maracas girl seemingly has no brain!!!
Reviewer: 'Chive Lingerer - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 18, 2005
Subject: I know who these people are!
Well, not all of them. Somebody mentioned that they seem familiar and sorting through many dreams and nightmares it was revealed to me that the main marimba player is Mr.Rogers and the base player is none other than Jon Lovitz. I'm still working on the girls however. Do I see a young Barbara Stanwick........?
Reviewer: Docterry - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 22, 2005
Subject: Reg Kehoe and Marimba Queens
I can't help thinking I saw this wonderful group in the early 50's at Willow Grove Park,Pa., where my Grandfather's band used to perform. I'd love to know if they ever recorded any 78 RPMs? And anything else about the band...what other Parks they played in, any of the local Dance Halls... This is a wonderful histort lesson! I might have gotten my love for Marimba's from the Queens!!!
Reviewer: Ray Double - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 21, 2005
Subject: To Cindy,
Wow, what a really cool cat story. I wish there were more film of the band around.

Bless you,
Reviewer: BraddS - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 29, 2005
Subject: Wacka-too Wacka-too Wacka-too
(Sorry, didn't mean to bump this up, just wanted to say thank you Cyndy for posting!)

Pedant is exactly right. Putting aside the question of persistence of conscious awareness after death, there is something about this video that keeps drawing me back in. Is it the mysteriously smiling maraca lady who sensually waves her maracas over her head while swaying to and fro, and doesn't get to put her arms down the whole time? Or is it the bass player who sails his arms out to the side between notes, then air-bangs his head in anticipation of Heavy Metal performances two generations later? Or is it that addictively hypnotizing melody? Astounding what they do with just three notes! And even though you can't actually hear the wacka-toos being sung, you know they'll be there tomorrow at work when the tune plays back over and over and over again in your head.

Was this band a popular act on the "night club" circuit at the time? And if so, where? Southern California? They seem to have a pretty polished performance. I wonder whatever happened to them.
Reviewer: CyndyM18 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 28, 2005
Subject: My mother a Marima Queen
I never thought I would see my mother on the internet. She was one of Reg Kehoe's Marimba Queens. In the movie clip she is to Reg's far right. I have many wonderful memories of the band and traveled with them often as a young girl. What a fantastic way to share this wonderful band of the past. Please feel free to email me for more information about the band.

Reg is playing the marimba and skips up to an electric vibraphone. Frank Denunzio plays the base, and yes the clip is a mirror immage, my mother usually was on the far left and may be the one referred to as rolling her eyes so show how much fun this was. My mother loved to play in this band. The woman next to the maraca player is Reg's wife. A few of the Marimba Queens are still living. The Kehoe Band opened and closed the Hershey Park season in PA for many years and was something I looked forward to each year. This clip was titled "A Study in Brown" and was played before a movie. I don't remember the name of the movie. My mother played with the band from about 1938 until 1955. She also did stand up comedy and a 'contortionist' doing an acrobatic act. I am delighted that people can still enjoy this great band of days gone by.
Reviewer: Kazoo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 10, 2005
Subject: Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens
Yes, this was shown about 15 years ago on the PBS noontime program Matinee at the Bijou. I made a VHS copy then, and it is my favorite of these musical shorts by a large measure. Here's Reg Kehoe on the standup base, bouncing around like a maniac going to town on it, surrounded by a half dozen babes in evening wear all playing marimbas. Amazing, brilliant, DON'T MISS THIS ONE. Mind-bendingly great....
Reviewer: Drexel Gal - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 4, 2005
Subject: May be titled "Rhumba Queens"
I saw this Soundie sometime in the late 1970s. It may have been played on the old PBS series, "Matinee At The Bijou". The clip was not cut off at the beginning, as it is in this collection. I think the title was "Rhumba Queens" (at least, I remember the title contained the word, "queens"). Incidentally, after I downloaded the "MPEG" file from this site, I corrected the "mirror image" appearance with Windows Movie Maker.
Reviewer: jademko - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 3, 2005
Subject: I was mesmerized...
There's so much wonderful stuff at this site that one is loathe to label one film "best." Yet, until they finally unearth a copy of "The Extraordinary World of Zinc," this soundie holds the #1 spot.

Some of the girls look oddly familiar. Where have I seen them before?
Reviewer: hoodoo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 27, 2005
Subject: A really wigged out bass player!
Just watching that crazy cat wailing away on his upright bass makes this clip a classic. Highly recommended!
Reviewer: JimPAS - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 20, 2005
Subject: Great!
The bass player is absolute comedy!
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